Sunday, July 24, 2011

CHOMP

Lately, things in the world of parenthood have been very up and down. As Amelia nears nine months, she is desperately attempting to make her little body go. She rocks back and forth on her tummy grunting and whining. She pulls herself up using my arms and shoulders as if I'm her personal jungle gym, often until 10:30 at night when I beg her please, please just go to sleep, doesn't bedtime sound fun? For right now, gone are the days where I can get her to bed by 8:30 or 9:00 and have a couple of hours to myself. But on the other hand she is currently taking longer naps during the day and even letting me lay her down in the crib for them. It never ceases to amaze me how I will think I know my daughter and her patterns and then, in a blink of an eye, she changes everything on me.

Little Miss Vampire Tooth
In the midst of juggling all these changes, Amelia has also gotten her first tooth. It's still just a nub on the bottom of her mouth, but definitely there, hard and sharp. Generally, as a breastfeeding mom, I've been terrified of this moment. I've done the research and I know that they are supposed to still be able to nurse without doing any permanent damage to mommy's nipples. Occasionally, they may bite down while teething or simply to see what will happen, but they should learn pretty quickly not to bite. I desperately hoped that Amelia would love breastfeeding so much that she would not hurt mommy.

I was WRONG.

It happened in the middle of the night. I anticipated rolling over to feed her and we'd both drift back off to sleepy land as she nursed. Instead, she CHOMPED DOWN, leaving me yelping with pain. Stunned, but thinking it was a fluke, we fell back to sleep until she woke again an hour later. Surely she is hungry now. I offered her the other side as I was pretty sure my right nipple was bleeding.

CHOMP.

Oh, and I should mention here that we aren't talking a bite like you bite a cookie and then cease. No, we are talking let's bite down on Mommy's nipple like it is a tough piece of meat and not let go. So, this forced me to tear myself away from her knife-like little tooth.

First I was stunned all over again. Then I became angry. Now, many of you are saying "Oh, Amanda, she's just a BABY, you can't get MAD at her." Well, first of all, being bitten at 2 a.m. does not lead to a lot of rationality. And second, OMG the searing pain. The rest of the night was a lot of tossing and turning, waking up every hour. I'm not sure if it was because I was so upset or because she was restless, but the dawn definitely brought a bad morning. Tired, frustrated, and anxious about having to let her nurse for her breakfast, I had to cry before before I could change her diaper when she woke.

And then I cried in the afternoon. And again before bed last night.

I could get all psychologically deep about why this upset me so much, but that's no fun. Let's discuss instead how I plan on holding this and her epidural free birth over her head for the rest of her life. "What, Amelia? You want to move across country to go to college? Did I ever tell you how much pain you leaving my womb caused me? And that I sacrificed my comfort because I was concerned about your ability to successfully breastfeed? AND that when you got your first tooth you attempted to bite both my nipples off?!? You change your mind, you say? You'll go to BGSU? Well, if you think that's what's best..."

Or let's talk about what God was thinking when he decided that women should provide nourishment to their babies through their breasts in the first place. Now, sans teeth, I have no objection to this. But babies get their teeth anywhere from 3 months of age to a year. For the determined woman who is hoping for no formula feeding AND has a baby who gets teeth at 3 months, we are talking 9 months of at-risk nipples. No good. My suggestion would have been lactating fingers. Much less delicate.

It's been about 36 hours since the traumatic event, and so far, so good. No more biting, although I am still tensing up each time she latches on. I'm spending my mental energy praying that she will not get her top 2 teeth in at least until November.

In the meantime, I guess I should start shopping for nipple piercings. If she's going to make holes, I might as well put some kind of ornamentation in them.

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